Monday, August 27, 2012

An Artful Accident: Milwaukee Art Museum

Last weekend I spent the day at the Milwaukee Art Museum with my artsy designer friends, Courtney and Grete. We were there especially to check out a special exhibit on Posters in Paris from the late 19th/early 20th century. I felt very sophisticated and smart talking about design with them all afternoon. (No pictures were allowed in that exhibit, unfortunately.)
Milwaukee Art Museum from the outside - it's a beautiful building!

the main entrance has a really amazing ceiling
After that exhibit we wandered upstairs to check out other things in the museum, and what did we come across?

An exhibit about Disney animation!!! 

Needless to say, I was really excited. Even though the exhibit was clearly designed for people who are three feet tall.

The entrance to the exhibit featured my favorite character from The Incredibles: Dash!
The exhibit displayed how Disney artists were influenced by classical art to create not only beautiful but authentic designs. Art from throughout history have served as inspiration for the animated worlds created in Disney films. I was impressed by the wide variety of work that lent ideas towards a single film's overall look. As a designer myself, it was cool to get a glimpse inside Disney artists' "creative process."
The Beast transformation scene inspired by a Michelangelo sculpture
An antique candelabra and teapot as models for Lumiere and Mrs. Potts
Some of concept artist Mary Blair's inspiration for Cinderella - Picasso, Matisse and Braque
On one wall there was a matching game where you had to match up scenes from Disney or Pixar films with the art piece that inspired them. Grete and Courtney made me play the game to see if I was both a credible Disney and art fan. Since this game was clearly geared towards kids, I was relieved when I got every one correct!
Matching Disney scenes with classic art that inspired them: success!
In addition to the side by side comparisons, the exhibit also featured some original character sketches and scuptures, as well as storyboard excerpts. The Disnerd and art nerd in me were kind of going a little nuts at the chance to see those up close and in person.
An original sketch of Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty
character scuptures from Finding Nemo
Storyboard pictures from various Pixar films
So, it was a wonderful day of nerding out about art. I'm really glad we decided to explore the rest of the museum. What a happy accident!

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